My Favorite Dirt Bike Action Cameras in 2019>>
|GoPro Hero 7|
|GoPro Hero 6|
|Sony FDR-X3000 Action Camera|
|Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 HD 4K|
|GoPro HERO 5 Black|
|The Budget Option – Yi 4K+ Action Camera|
|Dirt Bike Cameras That I Don’t Recommend|
|The Essential Dirt Bike Camera Features Needed For Dirt Bike Riders|
The GoPro Hero 7 was released in late 2018. When I first bought it, it looked awfully a lot like the GoPro 6 in looks and features.
In fact it is pretty much identical to the Hero 6 for most features.
It has the same resolution as the Hero 6 ( 1080p 240fps and 4K 60fps).
It is also waterproof to 10 meters.
It is also the same price tag as the Hero 6 when it was first released ($370)
So what is the difference then?
Image stabilization technology.
The image stabilization tech in the GoPro Hero 7 is next level!
GoPro have gone all out and have perfected their image stabilization technology to the point where there is literally no more shaking and vibration in the recorded footage.
This is especially important for dirt bike riders as there is no other sport that inflicts more vibration than a dirt bike.
Pay close attention to the vibration on the helmet visor. It literally cancels it all out.
That is why the GoPro Hero 7 is the best action camera ever made for dirt bike riders. And for the price, it is a great deal!
Now that GoPro have perfected their image stabilization tech, it will be interesting to see how they will be able to improve on this amazing camera.
The Hero 6 is the 2017 model in a distinguished line of industry leading GoPro cameras that have been released to the market over the past 15 years.
The Hero 6 is completely waterproof up to 10 meters, straight out of the box.
This means no waterproof casing needed. This is a first for GoPro and a huge step forward for their sports camera line.
Secondly, the Hero 6 has the highest FPS in both 1080p (240fps) and 4K (60fps) out of all sports cameras available on the market and the picture is second to none in either 720, 1080p or 4K.
Also, GoPro have really worked hard on their image stabilization technology. The Hero 6 provides a super smooth picture even in the roughest of terrain.
Its lens technology is also pretty amazing and it works exceptionally well in low light as well as glare. I have taken out my Hero 6 in the harshest of conditions in both light and dark, wet and dry and the results were exceptional.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the Hero 6 was its touch screen. I find it a little bit annoying to use, especially when it’s wet.
I wish that GoPro would make a larger screen. It would be really useful for dirt bike riders. The voice activation feature is a really handy tool to have though.
The Hero 6 also has a really great app that is not hard to use and is full of cool video editing features.
The audio is also really good and the sound recording is still acceptable even in the windiest of conditions.
I think it’s really good value, especially considering that the price has been reduced since the introduction of the Hero 7.
The Sony X3000 is a really cool little camera and I really like it. Although it’s not waterproof on its own, it comes with a waterproof casing included (as seen above) that is good for 60 meters!! which is really great news if you also like scuba diving.
The X3000 has awesome resolution and FPS of 120fps in 1080p and 30fps in 4K and the picture is exceptional.
What I really love about the Sony X3000 is that the Japanese have really figured out their image stabilization tech (Balanced Optical SteadyShot – B.O.S.S) which they borrowed from their Sony line of HandyCams and placed it in the Hero6. and it’s incredible.
In my opinion the stabilization tech is better than the GoPro Hero 6 and the shakiest footage comes out like a steady motion picture. Amazing stuff.
The X3000 comes with a remote touchscreen that you attach to your wrist. The idea is that you can not only control the camera from here but also watch the live footage.
Although this is a super cool feature that makes you feel like Iron Man, I found it to be completely impractical for dirt bike riding and unreliable. But it’s a great idea and Sony should definitely keep developing this feature.
The other thing that I really like about this camera is that it is aerodynamic for dirt bike riding.
Where the GoPro has always been a small brick that sits on the front of your helmet and doesn’t cut through the wind very well, the Sony X3000 is slimline in shape and sits to the side of your helmet, cutting through the wind a lot better
The internal audio microphone is also really good and the sound recorded is solid without too much wind noise.
When I first got my hands on a Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 sports camera, the first thing I noticed about it is that it is heavier than a GoPro and built like a brick shit house.
It felt like some military grade piece of tech. It is a really impressive unit and great news for dirt bike riders that give their cameras a hard time.
The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is also waterproof without a case up to 50 metres!!
And Garmin also claim that it will withstand freezing temperatures of -10 C. I haven’t tested this yet but I sure want to.
The Garmin has 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 120 fps and produces a video quality that some say is better than GoPro on a comparable resolution.
Garmin have developed their own stabilization tech that operates on a floating gyroscope to keep the video as smooth as possible.
Although I found it not to the standard of GoPro or Sony in stabilization technology, it still provides an amazing picture and is highly competitive.
What I love about the Garmin is that they have developed a unique feature that is not available with any other camera on the market (that I know of) which is their G-Metrix tech.
G-Metrix is sensor technology that has two main features. Firstly, it’s on board sensor will detect your speed, elevation, lap times, acceleration G Forces and a whole bunch of other cool metrics.
Secondly, by placing their Bluetooth sensor on your bike (attached to your battery), you will also receive engine and bike diagnostics such as engine load, fuel consumption and RPM that the camera will add over your video footage. Very cool!
To see it at work in real time, take a look at this video
Additionally, because Garmin are highly experienced with GPS technology, the Garmin VIRB Ultra has GPS installed which is also a cool feature if you need to know where you are.
You can even control the VIRB Ultra by syncing it with a Garmin Montana GPS system if you use them on your dirt bike.
The microphone is an external attached mic which I thought would be a problem but it produced excellent audio with low wind noise.
I also found that the Garmin app was easy to setup and use.
The GoPro HERO5 is the previous model from the HERO6. It supports 4K but but only at a low 30 FPS.
The HERO5 does run at 120 FPS at 1080p though which is fantastic and the unit is waterproof up to 10 meters without a waterproof case.
The image stabilization tech isn’t as good as the HERO6 but still pretty damn good in my opinion and the noise reducing audio technology is still great.
I also really like GoPro because of their video editing app that is easy to setup and use.
The HERO5 still operates on voice control which is really handy to have and overall, the HERO5 is a great unit and very good value for money now that the model is superseded by the HERO 6.
I have owned a GoPro HERO5 now for a few years and it is my ‘go to’ camera that is completely reliable and can take a thrashing and doesn’t miss a beat.
When I first read about the Yi 4K sports camera that was only $150 I thought,
…no way man! It must be a cheap and nasty Chinese piece of junk.
After reading some more reviews online I thought I would buy one and give it a spin. And I was pleasantly surprised.
This little beast pumps out 4K video at 30fps or 1080p at 120fps which is really impressive for the price.
The camera on its own is not waterproof but the waterproof case takes care of that.
The camera is also built on a 3 axis gyroscope tech like the Garmin and I would say that the image stabilization is comparable with the Garmin which is a really good thing for the price!
What I also enjoyed about this little camera was not only it pumped out a great video but also that it actually has a larger touch screen than a GoPro which is really easy to use.
I wish GoPro made a screen this large!! Awesome.
Take a look at the Yi 4K in action.
The camera is also built relatively tough and I had no problems with it. The sound also was really good even for an external microphone setup.
I’m really impressed by this action camera! For a budget option that still performs really well; the Yi 4K is definitely a great option.
If you are looking for better 4K resolution, take a look at the Yi 4K + as it is built the same as the previous model but pumps out 4K at 60 fps. Nice.
These are the cameras that I think have a lot of potential but need further development and are not currently good for dirt bike riders for various reasons.
1. Sena Prism Bluetooth Action Camera
This action camera could potentially be great but needs further development. Unfortunately it looks like the company only ever released one version and haven’t updated it since.
It has a nice sleek design, it uses voice activation, Bluetooth functionality and is waterproof (with a waterproof casing) but here are the things that I don’t like about it.
a. The camera operates at a maximum of 30fps at 1080p which is just not enough for the high vibration and impact of dirt bike riding
b. The camera has no LCD screen! I don’t know if they were trying to be retro with it but trust me when I say that you need a control and playback screen of some sort.
c. I found the microphone to be noisy and it picked up the sound of the wind too easily.
d. I had battery issues and the unit would run low after only about an hour of use.
2. Contour ROAM3 Waterproof HD Video
This camera is used quite a bit in military applications and for insurance use for cars and road bikes.
I definitely see the attraction as it is waterproof with a sleek design, it has a laser leveling lens and it is a one touch button so it is fast to operate, but there are a few points that killed it for me.
a. I found that the microphone was really noisy in the wind.
b. The footage was shaky on a dirt bike. The camera doesn’t have image stabilization tech as far as I have seen from the contour website.
c. It has no LCD control screen! and no Bluetooth or WiFi capability to stream your playback on a device.
d. It has a non removable battery so I couldn’t swap out the battery for continuous usage.
e. It has a maximum of 30 fps at 1080p which is not competitive for the price.
Although the Contour ROAM3 isn’t the best for dirt bikes, it would be more suited to paintball skirmish or air-soft activities.
Drift Ghost 4K Action Camera
The company that made the Ghost Drift 4K claims that it was made for outdoor use and for dirt bike riding. It has image stabilizing tech and the resolution runs at a high 120 fps at 1080p and it even has a decent 4K.
However, can someone please tell me why they would go to all this trouble and not make it waterproof or at least water resistant? To me that’s a huge oversight and makes the camera pretty much worthless for dirt bike use.
I also noticed that it wasn’t nearly as well constructed as other cameras on the market and for the price, you are much better off going with a GoPro HERO5.
a. Waterproof, shockproof and built tough.
Dirt bike cameras need to be really tough. It has to be able to withstand a huge amount of vibration, shaking and impact. They also have to be water proof
This is why some dirt bike cameras just won’t make my list. Some cameras are not that tough and are only water resistant which is just not good enough.
b. The best mix of resolution and frames per second (FPS).
Just like a television set, the resolution of the screen determines just how crisp and realistic an image will look. A low resolution will look ‘boxy’ and pixelated while a high resolution will look crisp, smooth and realistic.
For example, this is a picture of an apple in very low resolution of only 10 x 10 pixels
(courtesy of Quora)
And this is the same picture in 1280 x 720 pixels.
In the sports camera market, there are only two resolutions worth knowing –
1080p is made up of 1080 horizontal pixels (1920 x 1080). This high definition resolution makes the picture super smooth and crisp.
4K is the very latest in resolution technology and is made up of 4000 horizontal pixels (3960 x 2160) and is super high definition which makes the picture even smoother and crisper with incredible amounts of detail.
Frames per second (FPS)
Now, normally if you had a standard still picture camera, the resolution would be the only thing to consider. You would want to get that resolution as high as possible.
However, because we are dealing with motion pictures, the other factor that you need to consider is frames per second (FPS).
Motion pictures (videos) are basically millions of still images strung together and shown so rapidly that they all move together in one fluid motion.
These still images are measured in frames per second (FPS). For example, if you had a video camera that ran at 60 fps, then that means that every second of the video would be made up of 60 still images.
So basically then, the more frames per second, the smoother the video will be.
In 2018, currently the best resolution and fps that you can get your hands on with a dirt bike camera is the GoPro Hero 6 which is 240fps in 1080 and 60fps in 4k.
This means that 1080 then will give you a more fluid picture while 4k will give you better resolution but a slower fps.
Eventually, technology will increase to the point where 1080p will be a dinosaur and 4k will have over 100fps which will be incredible! But we will have to wait a few more years for that to be released.
Keep in mind though that the human eye can only detect a flicker rate below 20fps so we are really dealing with first world issues here. lol
For example, take a close look at the first 30 seconds of this video that compares 30fps vs 60 fps. Not much difference right?
4K with a low fps is better for making motion picture movies because the action is a lot slower and movies demand as high resolution as possible.
Dirt bike action is super-fast and so a high fps is better to get a smoother picture. This is why I prefer to use 1080p with at least 60fps rather than 4K at 30fps.
c. Image Stabilization Tech
The high vibration and non-stop jolting from dirt bike riding means that image stabilization technology needs to be high priority.
It’s not so important for sports like skiing or cycling where the terrain is a lot smoother, but dirt bike riding demands a more stable picture.
d. Wind Noise Reduction Tech
Wind noise reduction is another really important feature for any sport that is enjoyed in the outdoors. There is nothing worse than watching footage from a camera where all you can hear is a tornado coming through the speakers.
e. Ease of Use
I hate technology that is difficult to use and the software is crap. If a company is going to spend millions on improving their technology, how humans interface with their devices should definitely be a priority.
The camera app should be easy to use and the controls on the device itself should also be fairly basic. Nobody’s got time to fuck about with the controls of their camera when all you want to do is press a button and go riding.
f. A Good Battery Life
This one goes without saying but you will want battery life of at least 2-3 hours. This is harder than it sounds because video cameras use a lot of juice to power their technology.
All my recommendations have a minimum battery life of at least 2 hours.
g. A Few Camera Mounting Options
Dirt bike cameras are normally attached to the helmet but it is really useful to have other options as well, such as the handlebars or other parts of a dirt bike.
What camera do you use? Can you recommend any that I have not mentioned in this blog? Let me know in the comments below and if you liked this article then please give it a share on social media.
Title Photo courtesy of the legendary Steve Mcqueen
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